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One of the most unlikely of pop stars was Shelley Fabares, who parlayed her role on The Donna Reed Show into a #1 record!

Shelley had been acting since she was 3 and made her first television appearance at age 10. Four years later she was tapped to play Mary Stone, Donna Reed’s daughter on the long-running sitcom. Producers of the show noticed the success Ricky Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was having on the record charts. What they didn’t notice was that Ricky had genuine musical talent, with a big band leader for a father and a singer for mother.

Ms. Fabares and her TV-sibling, Paul Petersen, were quickly rushed into a recording studio. Petersen went enthusiastically, even continuing to record for Motown (!) after The Donna Reed Show ended. Shelley was much more reluctant. She felt she couldn’t sing, but the show’s producers gave her a choice: record or be replaced as Donna’s daughter. So, Shelley recorded.

The initial result was a #1 record in 1962 that surprised everyone – “Johnny Angel.” The success led to Shelley releasing an album, “Shelley!” that also sold well. Later the same year, she released a second album, “The Things We Did Last Summer,” which included two more songs that had chart success: “Johnny Loves me” and the title track for the LP.

Just one year later, Shelley left the show in search of other acting opportunities. She co-starred in not one, but 3 Elvis Presley movies (Girl Happy, Spinout and Clambake) and one Beach Party knock-off, Ride the Wild Surf.

She is also known for playing Craig Nelson’s girlfriend/wife on the long-running Coach. She has been married to Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H) since 1984.

While she never returned to the recording studio, “Johnny Angel” has become one of the best-remembered songs from that era and her albums are still available on CD and digital download.

Here is a recent photo of two rock & roll legends, who hadn't met until now. Do you recognize them? Here they are just a few short years ago - Tommy James and Connie Francis!

We are currently involved in a project, trying to commit to digital files the entire run of the Beatles official British fan magazine, Beatle Book Monthly. This magazine was never distributed in America, so most of these pictures and articles have never been seen in the States. The magazine ran from August, 1963 (6 months before Beatlemania broke out in the States) until the band's break-up in 1970.

Take a look at the center spread from the magazine's very first issue. Notice anything different about Ringo's bass drum?

BTW - If you'd be interested in obtaining a copy of these magazines once we have finished converting them to digital copies, contact us!

Back in the 70’s, David Gates was the key member of a group named Bread. Between 1970 and 1976, Bread placed 11 records on Billboard’s Hot 100 (10 of them landing in the Top 20), all of them written and sung by Gates. He scored his last success in 1977 by singing the title song to the film The Goodbye Girl. Then, he just seemed to vanish.

What happened?

Part of the initial British invasion, the folk-influenced pop duo of Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde went on to rack up 7 Top 40 hits in the U.S. before the shift to progressive rock made their brand of soft standards passé.

As popular as the boys were on this side of the pond, it’s surprising they had very little success in their native England, managing only one hit record (their very first, “Yesterday’s Gone”)!

David Stuart Chadwick and Michael Thomas Jeremy Clyde met while attending school in the UK. It was the future Chad Stuart who taught Clyde how to play the guitar. They performed as a folk duo, then formed a rock band called the Jerks, before finally settling into the musical identity they would hold for the rest of their careers.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dick Pillar and His Polka Posse have had to cancel this year's Polkabration. Refunds available where you bought your tickets.

Annette Kleinbard was the female vocalist in The Teddy Bears, who, along with Phil Spector and Marshall Leib, had a 1958 hit called "To Know Him Is To Love Him". She later changed her name to Carol Connors and went on to co-write The Ripchords' 1964 hit "Hey Little Cobra", "Gonna Fly Now" (The Theme From Rocky), as well as the 1980 Billy Preston / Syreeta Wright duet "With You I'm Born Again".

An article from the official magazine of the Beatles Fan Club in the UK - Issue #11 June, 1964:

The Kinks needed a hit. Their first two records had both stiffed. Leader Ray Davies knew they weren’t going to get that many chances. So, for their third attempt he tried something completely different.

The song the band and their producer, American Shel Talmy, picked was one Davies had written 2 years before. He had been smitten by a girl he saw dancing in club where the band was performing. After their set, Ray went looking for her but came up empty. He put his frustration in the lyrics of the song.

Finally having recorded the song, the band was not happy with the way it sounded. Ray and his brother Dave Davies thought it sounded too slow and too polished. They wanted a rawer sound, one that came closer to the way the band sounded live playing the poorly lit, overheated rock clubs around London. So, the record label let the band try again – but only if the group paid for the recording time themselves. Borrowing the money from their managers, the Kinks returned to the studios. They used amplifiers they had cut themselves with razor blades to create a more distorted, fuzzy sound. They picked up the tempo. In a final touch, producer Talmy had the band record two layers of backing vocals to make the finished product sound denser.

The result of all that effort was their first #1 in the UK and first top 10 hit in the U.S. – “You Really Got Me.”

A Hidden Treasure From Rock & Soul’s Golden Era

A series of posts about albums you may have missed back in the day when so much good music was coming out on nearly a daily basis. But now that the real “good stuff” is few and far between, you might want to backtrack and add these gems to your music collection.

The Move was the right band in the right place at the wrong time. Successful from the start in their native England, they released a string of songs that went Top 10 in the UK, but went nowhere in the U.S. Their first, self-titled album wasn’t even released in the States. It was their second album, “Shazam,” released in February of 1970 that introduced the group to American audiences.

It remains one of rock’s great underappreciated masterpieces – a tremendous example of the kind of power pop the Beatles pioneered and later championed by bands like Cheap Trick.

Perhaps it was the crudely drawn cover that kept the album from getting much attention at the time. Maybe it was their American label’s (A&M) lack of promotional push. Whatever the reason, the album never made the charts and was known only to a small cult of rock afficianados.

“Come Softly to Me” is a rock & roll classic. It’s been covered by a multitude of artists including Fleetwood Mac’s Bob Welch & Christine McVie.

The original was recorded in the fall of 1958 by the three kids that wrote it: Barbara Ellis, Gretchen Christopher and Gary Troxel – better known as the Fleetwoods.

The group got its start at Olympia High School where all three were students. Ellis and Christopher began as a duo, but felt something was missing. So, they asked their friend, Gary Troxel, to join them. At one of their first rehearsals, the girls sang Gary a song the two of them had composed. They called it “Come Softly.” Troxel then improvised a part for himself, softly singing “Um-doobee-doo down-down down-doo-down…” Troxel’s improvisation gave the song what it need – a hook! He also improvised some lyrics to go between the girls harmonizing on “Come softly, darling, etc.”

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